The legalization of marijuana in states like Colorado, Oregon and Washington has been directly linked to a three percent rise in car accidents in those states.
The Highway Loss Data Institute conducted a study, looking at the rates of car accidents in states that do allow legalization of marijuana, compared to those that don’t.
“More drivers admit to using marijuana, and it is showing up more frequently among people involved in crashes,” the study claims.
The Daily Mail also reports:
The HLDI is affiliated with the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, a nonprofit organization funded by auto insurance companies which have a vested interest in not having to play claims and a bias against any sort of impaired driving.
The group used collision claims in their study because it is the most frequent kind of claim insurers receive, according to CBS.
According to the group, past researchers were not able to ‘definitively connect marijuana use with real-world crashes’.
So, HLDI switched their focus Colorado, Oregon and Washington, and compared the number of collision claims in those states to the number in those that neighbor them.
The group also factored in statistics from those three states before recreational marijuana use was legal.
Of three states, Colorado, where the drug has been legal since 2014, saw the largest estimated increase in claim frequency. It was 14 percent higher than neighboring states.
Washington, then was second highest with a six percent increase, and Oregon came last with just a four percent increase.
The combined effect for the three states was a small but significant three per cent, according to the HLDI Vice President Matt Moore.
This also means that auto insurance companies, which have the most stake in this, keep lobbying against marijuana legalization.
Insurance rates can spike in those states that allow the drug to be used recreationally, especially with studies showing increases in accidents.